Use your Pet for Finding a Mate

31 07 2008

This post is inspired by a shocking news flash on American Bedu’s blog!
It seems that the misogynist anti-fun nutters in KSA have finally hit the mark:

”Basically the yahoo news-link advises that the Kingdom has placed a ban on selling cats or dogs as pets in pet shops because some men are using these pets to attract women.”

What can I say? Of course this time they have finally hit the mark. (This news installed a whole new meaning into my head for the word Yahoo-news ) Not only is a pet good for you, and good for your ability to get yourself into perspective, (nothing will make clear to you your insignificance in the universe as serving a pet does), pets are a great way to make new friends!
And that, is just só wrong!
Not only do you get to know more people, you might even attract persons of the ”other sex” !!!!!

So especially for those unlucky people stuck in a place where pets are going to be forbidden, here is a crash course in how to use pets for maximum result.
According to ”Arab news” its allready too late: the ban is in place.

Why does the ”Pet-Thing” work? Apparently humans, and other animals, are programmed to go all ”Aaaaahhhhh, Cuuuute” when confronted by small fluffy little cute harmless somethings looking into our eyes.
So use that programming and get your pet home before it’s too late!
And of course for everybody else bend on some really scintillating, steaming, hot, sexy, romantic encounters: Read This!

Choosing your pet

I cannot stress the importance of this! Your succes will stand or fall by the choice of pet. While it is true that, for example, a giant tarantula,
is both unusual and will definitely attract attention,
It may not be quite what you had in mind, and will in all probability not attract the mate of your choice….

When it comes to acquiring that mate-attracting-pet there are three rules to keep in mind:

  • small
  • cuddly/hairy/feathery
  • sweet chirruppy noises

Of course the most suitable pet for mega-caress-ability-coefficient-efficiency is the Tribble, hard to resist even by a cold-blooded half-Vulcan like mr Spock:

But it’s hard to get one on earth. The closest relative to the Tribble on this planet, is the Fluffy Rabbit.

If you want to have a more predatory pet, I’d look for:
Cuddly Dog

Or Cute Kitten:

When you’ve chosen your pet, take it out! Be seen with it! Make sure to take a lot of time and effort looking after it, grooming it, and gaining it’s affection. It is vitally important that your pet loves you as no other. Otherwise you will fall into two important snags: 1- your aimed at lovely will only mind your pet and not see you at all!
Or: 2- Your pet will choose to switch personnel owner and decide to move into somebody else’s leaving you at the doorstep.
Never forget: the goal is: when noticing how the cute pet has only eyes for you: the lovely of your choice, will also start to look at you!
And, because your pet loves you: you must be really something, and he/she will start his/her first glance in a very positive way!
If you are really lucky they may decide to want to divert your attention from your pet to themselves!

In that case I’d order the wedding-cake: Succes is assured!!!

I hope to have cleared some misunderstandings about Pet-use-for-mating, and I want to finish, with myself as an example. While fully supplied and occupied by several pets of my own, I still have a Serious Crush on my beloved, and adored Checkers!

And that’s only per internet! Just to show how effective a well-chosen pet can be!

Country Shopping

29 07 2008

I want to introduce you to the custom of way side shopping in the Netherlands.

While the weather is amenable, many people like to sell their stuff in a low-maintenance manner by putting up a stall, and let things develop on their own. This can range from a miniature garage-sale, to garden produce, eggs, honey, to a professional nursery selling examples of their plants or cut flowers.
It works like this: You put up a table with a parasol, or even a real stall, and put your merchandise out, price everything, and people passing by choose what they like, and put the money into a tin-box, jar, flowerpot, whatever.
Apparently this works very well, because it’s getting more and more popular 🙂
Just make it clear: There are no people looking after the stalls! You are expected to be honest and pay for what you take and leave the money in the box, jar, flowerpot. And of course they’re counting on nobody taking money out of it, unless it is change.

Photos taken from horse-back: hence the high view point.
It’s raining a bit: Two baskets of vegetables, and a tin for the money.

A more serious arrangement and a covered stall showing a miscellaneous array of stuff.

A very lovely display of garden plants, and they even offer plastic bags to take your choice home! Little tin on the right to take your money.

Weird vegetables. they claim they are edible. I have no idea…
Little tin in front of the notice for money.

The absolute minimum: four courgettes, paper mentioning the price, and a jam-jar for the money.

Iron Maiden

28 07 2008

Hurray! I’ve got my ticket for the Iron Maiden concert on the sixteenth!!!
I have loved Iron Maiden since I was só high! And now there’s this concert right on my doorstep in Assen! 😀 And, even better: I am now a grown-up! with my own car! and I can just go, get my ticket, drive there, enjoy the concert and no worries about public transport etc, I can just get my car and drive back!!!!! Yihaaaaa!!!!!

Even if going alone to a heavy metal concert, I always have a good time and am never harassed. When I was at Metallica, all alone, two blokes from a group of men came towards me, (men in groups are the pits!) And I got all nervous…
”Are you alone?”
”Eeehh, yeah..?” (grr, what of it?)
”Well, we are going to get drinks, can we get you something? would you like a beer? some water? Would you like anything else?”
Só cute, and no chatting up or bothering me!

The Dutch band, Within Temptation is going to play as well. I am so looking forward to it!!!
I am sure it’s going to be excellent!

Stupidity and honesty

26 07 2008

I have been buying some materials at the market to make new clothes. At my favorite market stall, I brought four lovely pieces of stuff, and as I could use my debit-card with pin, I did just that. Now, really, I always check the amount before I push ”yes”.
Except this time.
And I was wondering why I had so little money on my account…
So I checked my balance, and discovered that instead of €29,50, I had payed €295,00!!!!!!!!!!

And that was two weeks ago!!!!!

So I printed my bank statement as proof, prepared myself to tell a good story, and to be assertive, and went to the stall in question, and guess what?
They had been on the look-out for me all this time! They all ready started waving as I approached, and had the surplus money I payed ready for me to take back!
They had found out just after I left two weeks ago there had been a slight discrepancy in numbers 😀

Hence the title: I was stupid; they were honest.

Trekking with Tarq, last day

24 07 2008

Well, after a fairly disturbed sleep, waking up every now and then to blow my sleeping mat up again, I woke up quite early. I popped over to my neighbours, and made tea. (my own tent is too small to do anything like that)

A couple of folks then walked to the village to buy some food for breakfast.
As the canteen was opened but nobody was about, we had our breakfast in the canteen. This day it was cold and raining. We then got our horses and left this inhospitable place.
On the way we saw this Lakenvelder cow. A very rare ancient dutch breed.

Lots of heather, and pine trees again…

Which way will the Tarq choose…

A heartshaped tree.
Love is everywhere 🙂

Me and the Tarq on a ”Tourist-scenic-viewpoint”

Tarq is só not interested

Knowie wants to avoid the stony path, never mind S. being dragged through the branches, here she has just managed to get him back on the path.

It rained quite heavily a couple of times.
Here can you see S. dressed up as an alien in the hopes of staying dry.

We passed very close to where my parents lived. That was a very emotional moment for me. This is the waterlily-lake. I came here almost every day with the dogs, when staying with my parents.

We again got a bit lost, and met these über-cute ponies,

We again were the last group to arrive, being cold, tired and wet, we came in loudly and  singing falsely. Looking at the faces of our friends, they were either not happy to see us, or not happy to hear us. 😀
We had a nice big bar-b-que, and all went home. Tarq was being a real b*#^rd, didn’t want to enter the trailer, and scored big time over me. 😦
we got home safely.

Trouble with Tarq yesterday

21 07 2008

A short intermezzo: Yesterday evening, while we were on a nice ride, and had just started for a trot, which the Tarq interpreted as an invitation to canter, mr. Fobic Anxiety, spotted a white water container, and lost his mental equilibrium.

he jumped in the sky, took off, decided to do the ”magic-stop”, followed immediately by the ”nano-second-turn”, and by that time I was hanging around his neck, so when he went for the next nano-second-turn, it was my downfall.
I hurt my leg, wrist and my chin is swollen and I have an abrasion and no Idea why, because I landed on my back, hurting my back (only muscles) and hit my head pretty hard. Luckily I was wearing my helmet.
I’m só responsible these days.

Tarq is definitely not what the Americans call: ”Husband-proof”

Jan made this photo, but not when I was suffering; we re-enacted it later, when I had recovered a bit.

Oh, and notice how Tarq stopped the moment I left his back, and started eating! I’m not sure whether to be pleased that he stops the moment ‘Aafke has left the saddle’, or be insulted because he immediately starts eating while I am down and suffering!
You can see the saddle is a bit out of kilter, because I hung on the side trying to safe my life.

We had a pretty nice ride, I was suffering in silence, we saw many roe-deer, and had a weird experience. By the way, it is cold again: 15” Celcius and raining half the time. Actually pretty normal for the Netherlands. Anyway, we heard a strange sound as we were riding: and we looked to the left and we actually saw and heard the rain coming towards us! Usually it just starts raining.

Me and Tarq, and M. and Billy

Trekking with Tarq 3

18 07 2008

On the third day, due to the pain in my ankle, I travelled with the wagon. My dear friend J’s lippizaner mare was crippled, and so she travelled on the wagon, and helped out opening gates, and helping with the young Gypsy vanner for whom this was the first big trip. I had offered her to ride the Tarq for a while.

Tarq was still scared of the wagon. The wagon ready for departure!
J. holding the gypsy vanner: she actually had a tougher workout every day than anybody else on this trip!

Weird fungus growing on a tree

Lunchtime; with the wagon we had to take slightly less picturesque roads every now and then.

After lunch we rode through a couple of villages. A lot of people looked very disparaging at us. We were in the dutch ”Bible-belt”! All in black, women with a small white collar: It was sunday, The Day of the Lord, and we were riding!
Having fun!
Shame on us!!!!!
One man looked at us with a twinkle when his wife turned away. I’m never quite sure what you are supposed to do, besides going to church twice. It looked as if some people were taking a walk, perhaps that is allowed.

After crossing the Royal Forest, by a very boring road (that’s why it didn’t occur to me photographing it) we arrived at this night’s night quarters. A quite posh ”Equestrian Centre”.
Shall I tell you my new theory? The grottier the riding school, the nicer, more warmhearted, more friendly the people”
So we arrived, we were the first strangely enough, the owner showed us the meadow for the horses, and the small field where we were to put our tents and left!
Now this ”Equestrian Centre” had, of course, a very nice canteen, with good loos and showers, but it was Sunday and it was closed. What do they expect? We are a group of 16 people: We booked accommodations!!! We pay good money for accommodation!!!!!! And that’s it? a field, no showers? no loos? and no cover? (it was starting to rain)
Incredible! We complained, and they opened the canteen for us, but only until seven o’clock!
Just pathetic!
Not that I mind squatting behind a tree very much, but I think it’s rather rich accepting a booking of sixteen people and just leave them with nothing but a field. Needless to say we’re never going to stay there again!

The tents. The very small light-green one on the right is mine. A member of our association lived nearby and had made an enormous quantity of pasta, the parents of another traveler came to bring us drinks, chips and cookies, and we had a window of about two hours to sit on the terrace and eat before it started raining again.

In the evening we sat chatting on some bales of straw drinking soft drinks and nibbling cookies and chips, and we had a very good time.
At night a real storm blew over! My tent kept being shaken from left to right! But I was so tired I fell asleep anyway.
Until I woke up on the hard ground because my sleeping mat had sprung a leak!

Trekking with Tarq 2

14 07 2008

The second day. 🙂

Or let’s begin with the night. And the packing mistake I made. I found out right after I went to sleep in my super hammock. While it was like 30” Celcius in the day-time, at night the temperature dropped to something close to zero, and I (and many of my friends) had packed our summer-sleepingbags, because it had been so hot during the week, even at night.
Big mistake.
we all had a shivering cold night, I only slept a few hours, even with all my clothes on, and an extra fleece-blanket, I was very cold! I woke up before sunrise, the hammock was very comfortable. It’s just the noise! All those noisy birds tweeting and squeeking about! And then you look down and there are rabbits all hopping around the tents… Pfff, no rest!

Sun coming up: view from inside the hammock.

I got out at 06.00 went for a quick shower, and started making tea for those getting out of their equally cold sleepingbags. It was so cold our breath came out in clouds! I have a nifty little Esbit burner and an aluminium pan. just right for tea. An Esbit burner is a very old German military design using solid fuel tablets. Ideal for trekking on horseback. You can keep one packet of fuel blocks inside the burner when closed. You can boil one pint of water in 8 minutes. I brought mine at the Army-surplus store for €2,50

Breakfast in front of the stables, we went early to the camping store and brought the food.
Tarq is leaning over to eat my cheese sandwich.

Again S. led us over the most beautiful paths, this is S. from the back 🙂
It was allready very hot!

Tarq and Knowie having another go at the forest-lemonade supplies.

Me and Tarq.
Or Tarq and me…

Sanddunes in Holland!

Look at the roots! This tree can walk off any minute!

I galloped up this slope four times! And still they didn’t manage one reasonable photo!
Ah, well, here’s my friends S. And R. with their horses.

Soon after the heavy sands we decided to have a lunchbreak.
Tarq having a nice long piss and really enjoying it!!!
And yes: This area felt sort of closed, with shrubs at the back, and logs in front, but basically the horses are walking free.


S. trying to explain the map to the Tarq who couldn’t be less interested.

The horses had another drink here, except Tarq who didn’t trust the scary moving water.

At last we arrived at our second night-quarters. We were the last ones, we got lost a bit at the end. My ankle hurt so much i wasn’t enjoying myself anymore: I felt sick. It was starting to rain.

………….Triple……………………….The Tarq ……………..Knowie…………………

Accommodations were basic. There was a veranda, with two rooms with each three beds. Which they had not aired before we arrived.
I burned a tealight with a few drops of teatree oil to freshen the atmosphere. This was a large riding school, we were at the back of the complex. The people were a bit uninterested when the first group arrived, but had become much more friendly when we arrived. To the left and right of the veranda there were one loo and a primitive shower.
Which turned out to be the most super excellent shower we had during the trip! After showering I felt much better, my ankle hurt less, and we had pizza’s for dinner on another veranda in front of the closed bar. It was raining and I slept in one of the rooms. They were so much like the ponycamps we remembered from our childhood, we felt very nostalgic and totally back to early childhood!
We agreed we’d brought the wrong sleepingbags; many of us had the same ones, as we were so cold the night before.
At 03.30 I woke up because I was só hot, sweat was pouring down my spine. I wispered: ”Are you awake?” Six of the nine were, and we decided to open the door to the fresh cold night-air!

Trekking with Tarq

13 07 2008

Ok, getting there was fraught with difficulties I´m not going to bother ya´all with, let it suffice that I got to the departure point just in time. Just in time to say hello, saddle The Tarq, and attach our luggage, and off we were! Hurray! let the adventure begin!

We were a very large group for a trek, 16 people! we split up into four groups during the day, meeting at our night quarters. A small wagon carried our tents. Tarq did not like the wagon; He considered it very suspicious!

Tarq and Knowie getting to know each other. Tarq wasn’t too fond of Knowie in the beginning, but later on he came to the conclusion that Knowie is a very nice and dependable horse to have around!
Knowie’s personal assistent is S, who did a great job reading the map and led us over the most beautiful bridle paths to our first sleeping accommodation.

The weather was warm and sunny, but because we rode through woods all day I didn’t get burned. Trough the four days of the trek we were treated on the full possibilities of the Dutch weather. Which is a bit of a bugger, as it means that, although you’re travelling for only four days, you still have be prepared for anything and pack your stuff accordingly.
I had missed out on one thing as I found our at night…

Tarq after getting a nice long drink from a puddle in the woods. Tarq loves the water from puddles.

We were the one but last group to arrive at the campingsite.
Tarq in full marching-kit!

Relaxing in the paddock.
Tarq btw is not tired. Tarq is never tired.
There was no meadow, the horses spend the night in the paddock. Quite something, as most had not ever met each other before. Luckely almost all of our horses are used to this kind of thing and manage very well on these occasions

Next to the ridingschool was a little dell where we could put up our tents. I thought it wa great: there were two picknick tables, and even a tap! Nice for making tea in the morning and the brushing of teeth! 🙂
We could use the excellent lavatory and shower blocks of the campingsite which was very large, but from our spot next to the ridingschool you would never notice.
If you look closely you can see my hammock hanging above the slope in the trees.

Close-up of my hammock. It’s a Hennesy-Hammock, it’s great, you sleep but your back is not bend as in a normal hammock, it is like a coccoon, with an extra roof, the top of the coccoon is made of mesh.

Tarq having a little snack late at dusk.

On shoeing horses

10 07 2008

Really you can write books about this but I’m keeping it personal.
It doesn’t hurt to nail the shoes on, the outer wall of the hoof is literally like a finger-nail, and we don’t hurt either when we clip our nails.
However, you can easily hammer the nail in the wrong part and cause the horse pain and even make him lame. The shoes stay on for about 8 weeks, perhaps 6 because Tarq has thinner shoes than usual, and they were mainly for the trek, and I prefer my horse to go barfoot.

The horse’s hoof is made up of many different parts, and is always flexible. Iron shoes will take away some of the flexibility, and, as the hoof is lifted from the surface the soft inner parts of the sole don’t do anything either.

because of this, many people now opt for not putting shoes on their horses. A horse still needs his hoofs trimmed every eight weeks. There is also a movement that advocates ”natural” trimming. I don’t quite agree with that as ”natural trimming” is based on wild horses, living a ”natural” life, and that can’t be compared to our domestic horses: Tarq is an Arab horse who lives in a large meadow in the Netherlands, he doesn’t trek around all day, he doesn’t experience different terrains, he is ridden (by me 🙂 ) he walks over concrete, asphalt, and stony roads. So i think ”Natural” doesn’t really apply.
Tarq, being a thoroughbred Arab has hoofs of steel, and no problems. So under normal circumstances, and riding, he doesn’t need horse-shoes. Some horses have problems and do need shoes, some horses have problems because of their shoes, and you need a blacksmith you can trust.
Geert is my fifth blacksmith and by far the best.
That means we see eye to eye as far as horse’s hoofs go! He is interested in his job, charges reasonably, and always takes lots of time to do a good job.

However, as we were advised there were some very stony roads coming up on the trek, and Tarq has very sensitive soles, I decided to have shoes for a couple of weeks. I’ve had problems before when he had bruises on his soles due to stony roads in Germany.
As the front feet carry most of the weight, shoeing the front feet only was enough for now.